* ABC 7…
A Lake County judge blocked north suburban Deerfield’s ban on assault weapons with a ruling on Friday.
Last April, the Deerfield Village Board voted unanimously to ban some semi-automatic firearms. The amendment to the village’s gun ordinance would restrict firearms that village leaders define as assault weapons, such as AR-15s. The ordinance would also prohibits high-capacity magazines.
Citing a spate of recent mass shootings with high death counts, Deerfield trustees voted in April 2018 to ban possession of certain firearms such as the AR-15, AK-47 and Uzi under their home rule authority to protect public health, safety, morals and welfare.
Local gun owners and gun-rights groups were quick to file lawsuits claiming the village had missed its opportunity to ban assault weapons in 2013. The Illinois legislature had given municipalities until July 19 of that year to regulate assault weapons before a new Illinois Concealed Carry Act and an amended Firearm Owner’s Identification Card Act eliminated their ability to do so.
Deerfield officials said their 2018 ban was an amendment to an ordinance pertaining to assault weapons enacted within the permitted time frame. That ordinance defined assault weapons and required safe storage and transportation within the village.
In the ruling, Berrones found Deerfield’s measure to be a new ordinance and therefore preempted by state statute.
* Illinois State Rifle Association Executive Director Richard Pearson…
“This is a big win for the 2nd Amendment,” Pearson said. “The Village of Deerfield had an opportunity to pass a ban in 2013 and failed to do so. Their ordinance is a clear violation of Illinois’ concealed carry law which was passed into law precisely because of the Supreme Court’s ruling on what municipalities could and could not do in terms of establishing their own gun laws. Today’s ruling reaffirms the US Supreme Court’s ruling and makes it clear that communities do not have the authority to enact more onerous gun laws than what is already codified in state statute. This is a very good day for those of us who put a premium on the 2nd Amendment freedoms afforded to us in the Constitution.”
“The NRA is proud to have supported this challenge to Deerfield’s ban on commonly owned firearms and magazines,” said Chris W. Cox, executive director of NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action. “This ruling affirms that every law-abiding Deerfield resident has the right to protect themselves, their homes, and their loved ones with the firearm that best suits their needs.”
The court found that Deerfield’s attempt to amend an existing firearm ordinance was a violation of state law. The ordinance would have allowed local authorities to confiscate and destroy semi-automatic rifles and standard capacity magazines possessed within village limits.
The challenge was originally filed in 2018 by Guns Save Life with support from the NRA.
“Deerfield’s senseless ban on popular firearms and magazines imposed a major burden on the right of law-abiding Illinois citizens to defend themselves but did nothing to disarm criminals,” said John Boch, Executive Director of Guns Save Life. “We are relieved that under today’s ruling, Deerfield residents will continue to be able to keep their firearms and magazines at home.”
“The Illinois General Assembly was very clear that it would not allow local governments to adopt a confusing patchwork of gun regulations under the guise of banning so-called ‘assault weapons,’ ” said David H. Thompson of Cooper & Kirk, PLLC, an attorney for the plaintiffs. “Deerfield’s ordinance plainly violates Illinois law, and we are pleased that the Court agreed.”
The Village of Deerfield and our legal team are closely reviewing the ruling entered today and all options available, including the right to appeal the decision to the Illinois Appellate Court. On the positive side, the judge denied the plaintiff’s claims of a takings violation and of a wildlife statute violation.
With respect to the remainder of the decision, it appears that the judge focused less on Deerfield’s actions and more on the actions of the Illinois State Legislature back in 2013. The judge took issue with the way in which the State Legislature drafted the State statute, and he read into the statute a complete preemption of home rule authority to regulate assault weapons. This unprecedented interpretation of State legislative action and intent make this case ripe for appeal.